November 08, 2017

Senators Warren and Rubio Applaud Banking Committee's Unanimous Approval of Bipartisan Provision to Shut Down Access to the Financial System for Human Traffickers

Language Included in Managers Package Based on Warren, Rubio "End Banking for Human Traffickers Act"

Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today applauded the inclusion of a provision to increase the role of the financial industry in combatting human trafficking in the BRINK Act, reported by the Senate Banking Committee. The language is based on the End Banking for Human Traffickers Act, originally introduced by Senators Warren and Rubio earlier this year.

The language, approved unanimously by the Banking Committee yesterday, requires federal banking regulators to work with law enforcement and financial institutions to combat the use of the financial system for human trafficking, and increase collaboration between law enforcement and experts in financial crimes by requiring the Treasury Department to establish an office within the Office for Terrorism and Financial Crimes to coordinate with the President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. The Task Force is also required to submit a report within 270 days of the act's passage on strengthening anti-money laundering efforts to deter human trafficking.

"Twenty-one million people from all across the globe have been forced into unpaid labor and sexual exploitation. This bill gives the Treasury Department a bigger role in combatting trafficking, and preventing the perpetrators from profiting off the lives of human beings," said Senator Warren. "I look forward to working with the members of the Banking Committee to see this become law."

"Human trafficking is one of the most urgent human rights issues of our time," said Senator Rubio. "This bill helps provide financial institutions and law enforcement with additional support in their ongoing efforts to help stop human trafficking and hold perpetrators accountable. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure this bill becomes law."

Human trafficking is pervasive, and profitable for perpetrators of this crime, who earn more than $150 billion each year in illegal profits from the exploitation of forced labor around the world. Preventing traffickers from accessing the banking system, which they use to finance their illegal operations, is critical to stopping human trafficking. The provision will help provide additional support to financial institutions, federal regulators, and law enforcement in their efforts to stop human traffickers in their tracks.

The End Banking for Human Traffickers Act was also cosponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).